Gustavo Roig, Ph.D.
2011 Albert V. Baez Award
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
Florida International University
For 36 years, Dr. Gustavo Roig has been in the business of changing lives. Through his work as a professor of engineering and computing, he has pushed, prodded, steered and inspired countless students to pursue their passions in STEM. In the process, he’s helped build Florida International University into a regional leader in Electrical and Computer engineering.
His philosophy has been to prepare students on an intellectual, mental, physical, emotional and cultural/social level, so they can truly prosper and grow in an evolving world. Dr. Roig has assisted in molding thousands of pre-college, college and graduate students into success stories through the many programs he started and still runs, and through his actions as an exemplary mentor and coach.
“Education should include not only the teaching of technical skills and subject matter, but also the providing of tools for personal growth so that students can truly thrive and prosper in a complex and changing world,” he proclaims. “Also critical is the collaboration of educational institutions, government, industry, and the entire community, which can foster the reciprocation of contributions by those we touch, thereby increasing the benefits to society as a whole.”
Dr. Roig has earned his reputation as a stellar educator the old fashioned way, through hard work and dedication to his students. He extensively prepares for his classes, discusses his insights and ideas with his colleagues and establishes positive working relationships with his students. Those who know him describe his lectures as thought provoking, organized, incredibly stimulating and optimized to stir student interest.
His commitment to his students is so legendary that even those not enrolled in his regular classes pursue his services as an advisor and a mentor. One such group of students asked him to oversee their group project, and while initially turning them down, he ultimately acquiesced. “It’s not only his technical and teaching ability,” a student writing on behalf of this group discloses, “but it is more than that. Dr. Roig is someone who loves his work, cares about students and conveys his confidence in our ability to be excellent in everything that we do.”
He doesn’t stop there. Throughout the years, he has been instrumental in implementing a variety of student support programs including peer tutoring, and externally and internally funded scholarships. Dr. Roig has courageously advocated for students and has secured millions of dollars to fund programs focused on the success of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math. Over the years, his impact on South Florida is most evident in the growth of the region’s grant and scholarship funding. In 1986, his first fundraising effort yielded $9,452 for low-cost hearing aids. Between 2000 and 2005, that total jumped to over $10 million in grants secured.
Dr. Roig was the driving force behind the establishment of the Center for Diversity in Engineering and Computing at Florida International University, where he served as Director from 1989 to 2008. The Center strives to increase the proportion of students from traditionally underrepresented populations in the overall number of students who pursue engineering degrees, and it has grown to a $2 million, self-supporting enterprise. From 1989 to 2007, he served concurrently as the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. Prior to his arrival at FIU, Dr. Roig held posts at the Universidad Simón Bolívar in Venezuela, the Polytechnic Institute of The Armed Forces of Venezuela, and at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez.
Dr. Roig has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Florida.
Luz Marina Calle, Ph.D.